Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Interview with Theresa Oliver, author of children's picture book 'Crystal the Christmas Angel'

Theresa Oliver grew up in southern Indiana, across from Louisville, Kentucky, in Clarksville, Indiana. In her childhood, she fell in love with the power of the written word, a love affair that has continued her whole life. She moved to Florida, where she has lived much of her adult life. She attended the University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, Tenn., and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree, News Editorial sequence. She also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, Early Childhood Education sequence, from Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Ga. She is currently a writer, a full-time teacher, and the owner of Write More Publications and TNT Author Services. However, her greatest adventure is as a mother of three beautiful boys. Oliver currently resides in Kissimmee, Florida, with her husband and children.

Her latest book is the children’s picture book, Crystal the Christmas Angel.

For More Information
About the Book:

All of the angels in Heaven are preparing for a big event, and Crystal, a little angel, wants to be a part of it. But the more she tries, the more the angels tell her that she is just too little. That is, until God himself gives her the biggest, most important task of all ... going with the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, and bringing God’s greatest gift to the world. But can Crystal do what God asks? Journey with Crystal as she discovers that God sometimes chooses the most unlikely for the greatest tasks. Crystal also discovers that you are never too little to do great things. You just need to believe and never give up.

For More Information

  • Crystal the Christmas Angel is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thanks for this interview, Theresa.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

Sure! First off, thank you for having me here today! I began writing short stories when I was fourteen years old and have been writing since. As a professional, I started out writing news feature articles for newspapers, and now I write young adult and children’s books in just about every genre. In addition, my first nonfiction book for adults was just published. I love writing and I write in just about every genre. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, News Editorial sequence, with a minor in English, from the University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, Tenn.; and a Master of Arts in Teaching, Early Childhood Education sequence from Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Ga.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

I love spending time with my children. This summer, my husband and I are planning to rent a cabin in Tennessee and spend time with our children off the grid hiking, white water rafting, fishing, and more. I also do book cover designs Web site designs, and layout as well as writing, for fun.

Do you have a day job? Or a night one?

Yes, a day job. I’m a full-time teacher in Florida. I currently teach first grade, but have taught first, second, third, fourth, sixth, and seventh grades. I love teaching all ages, but currently love my first graders. Hard telling what they will come up with! They always make me smile. I love inspiring children to read and write. Watching their faces light up with the discovery of learning is worth everything.

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

It’s been a long journey to publish this book, but not very rocky. I wrote this children’s picture book many years ago, and looked for just the right illustrator for years, but to no avail. After a few failed attempts with a few illustrators, I kept looking for just the right illustrator, never giving up on the book. Finally, a friend told me to try the illustrators on Fiverr, and I found illustrator Deanna McRae, also known as Peipei. She was wonderful to work with and was able to carry my vision to fruition. Within months after finding her, Crystal the Christmas Angel was finally published. I plan to have her illustrate my next children’s picture book Five Loaves, Two Fish, One Boy, and Jesus, as well. It’s the backstory of the biblical story.

What is it about the fantasy genre that appeals more than any other genre you would choose to write?

Although I write in all genres, but love writing fantasy probably the most. I love creating worlds and journeying into them, creating believable characters. In fantasy, anything can happen as long as your world is believable. I love the magic, engaging yours and the reader’s imaginations, and the possibilities.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

A little angel in Heaven is told that she is too little to help, but is trusted with and given the biggest job of all by God himself—taking His greatest gift to the world.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

This story has never been told before. In this book, the Star of Bethlehem is an angel who points the way to Jesus.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Christmas because it is a unique telling of the birth of Jesus from the perspective of an angel.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

Actually, I don’t plan to turn this book into a series, but would like to create a series of children’s picture books, retelling biblical stories for children from the perspective of a child.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Oh, everywhere! Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to open your eyes and your mind to the world around you. The inspiration for Crystal the Christmas Angel came when I heard scientists discussing that the Star of Bethlehem was formed when several planets came together, aligning in just the right way, coincidentally at the time of Jesus’ birth. I started thinking that it was too much of a coincidence. Then, I started playing the “What If” game, asking myself: what if the Star of Bethlehem was actually an angel? At the time, I didn’t have children and my niece and nephews were small. So, I imagined the angel to be a child and I wrote the story for them.

What’s next for you?

I have many other books in the works, but can’t wait to finish and publish my middle grades book Half Dozen Roses, a historical fiction depicting child labor in the early 1900’s and the famous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. My book Five Loaves, Two Fish, One Boy, and Jesus is coming soon, as well as the next books in my series, Star Unchained (C.I.A. Vampire Series, Book 2), The Journey Home (Cambria Series, Book 3), and Thou Shalt Not Kill Love (Thou Shalt Not Kill Series, Book 2). I also have a detective book in the works for adults, too, unlike any others, titled Detective Magic and the Cold Case. I also plan to finish writing and publish a book currently on WattPad, Wolf Girl and the Children of the Moon. I also plan to write more nonfiction books, as well.

Thank you so much for having me here today!

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